NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ971075
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Jan
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1682-3451
Critical Masses for Academic Research Groups and Consequences for Higher Education Research Policy and Management
Kenna, Ralph; Berche, Bertrand
Higher Education Management and Policy, v23 n3 Article 16 Jan 2012
Smaller universities may produce research which is on a par with larger, elite establishments. This is confirmed by a recently developed mathematical model, supported by data from British and French higher education research-evaluation exercises. The detailed nature of the UK system, in particular, allows quantification of the notion of critical mass in research. It is shown that research quality increases with group quantity, but only up to a limiting size referred to as the upper critical mass. The condition for smaller universities to produce top-quality research is that they contain research groups of sizes above the upper critical masses appropriate to their respective disciplines. Policies which concentrate support into progressively fewer, larger institutions are therefore unjustified for high-quality academic research. Instead, to amplify overall research strength, support for medium-sized groups should be prioritised to help them attain upper critical mass. (Contains 9 figures, 1 table and 2 notes.)
OECD Publishing. 2, rue Andre Pascal, F-75775 Paris Cedex 16, France. Tel: +33-145-24-8200; Fax: +33-145-24-9930; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: France; United Kingdom